Lionel Richie named global ambassador for Prince's Trust
The Prince of Wales was left dancing on the ceiling after it was announced that Lionel Richie had become the first global ambassador of his Prince’s Trust.
Richie and Charles met to announce their collaboration in Barbados during the royal’s Caribbean tour, and the heir to the throne could not resist making a play on lyrics from the singer’s hit song Hello.
As he thanked the superstar for agreeing to take up the role he said: “It must have been you I was looking for,” and the celebrity in mock horror asked “Oh, did you say that? He did say that”.
The singer will also act as chair of the new Global Ambassador Group and will support the Trust as it sets to work on a new global remit, tackling issues like youth education and unemployment, supporting indigenous youth and helping build sustainable communities.
Speaking at a Prince’s Trust International reception, Richie said: “I’ve been involved with the Prince’s Trust for a number of years and, of course, I understand exactly what they do – giving opportunity to kids who would never ever have a shot at anywhere close to their dreams.”
The singer – famed for hits like All Night Long and Say You, Say Me – said he was “caught off-guard” when asked to take up the formal role with the trust.
He added: “I will tell you that it was wonderful because it was something I would want to do anyway, and, number two, to get something on a global basis of this magnitude would take years, years.”
Charles and Camilla are on a 12-day tour of the Caribbean which has been overshadowed by paparazzi-style pictures of the couple relaxing on a Barbados beach which have been published online.
Richie, who later spoke to young people who have taken part in Trust programmes like Team and Get Into in Barbados, said: “This is something the two of us together, His Royal Highness and myself, it will be something we can get together fast and get around the world.
“Between my connections and His Royal Highness’ connections, we can do a lot of good for a lot of people.
“The thing about it right now, we just want to make sure we identify the various organisations around the world that have the kids we can get close to and then we’ll go on from there – we’ve got a little lifting to do before we get started.”
He added: “Remember now – kids with dreams, that’s the whole world.”
Sir Lloyd Dorfman, chairman of the Prince’s Trust International, told the guests they would be expanding their work in the region into Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and use Barbados as a hub to work with the smaller islands in eastern Caribbean.
The target was to help 10,000 young people over the next five years and £5 million would be needed to be raised to fulfil the commitment.
Prince’s Trust supporter Sir Tom Jones was among the guests after organisers found out he was staying at the exclusive Coral Reef Club, the venue for the event.
Sir Tom said: “I had a week off and thought ‘where should I go, where’s the sunniest place? Barbados’.
He said he had told the prince: “Any time I can sing for you, as long as I’m available, I’ll be there so I try and do as much as I can because he does wonderful work, the Prince’s Trust is a fantastic thing to be associated with.”